The first season is on Netflix, and I thought “Why not watch it?” I’ve been intrigued by it before, but it’s never really been on my watch list, nor a series I thought I’d ever watch had it not been so easy to get access to. While my boyfriend fell asleep to it pretty quickly, I stuck to it during both the good and the bad times. Was it worth it? Well…
The story takes place in the small village Hinamizawa, where we get to follow a teenage boy named Keiichi, who learns of the Oyashiro curse. This curse befalls the village every year on the Cotton Drifting festival, where someone will eventually die, and someone else go missing. However, the only one who really wants to talk with Keiichi about these occurrences is the police investigator Oishi, because Keiichi is new in the village and not corrupt like the other villagers when it comes to this topic.
While helping Oishi investigate the village and its residents, Keiichi feels increasingly threatened by Rena and Mion, his two best friends from school, who act more and more violent towards him, and would do anything for him to not find out the truth. It eventually ends with Keiichi brutally murdering the both of them, only to succumb to what seems to be the Oyashiro curse. Everything seems erased the next day though, as everything starts over again without anyone remembering the gruesome story that just took place. However, the story will not be the same this time…
It’s incredibly hard to review this series without spoiling too much, as it’s split up into several arcs that each tell their own story, shedding light on the curse as a whole while showing what has happened from various points of views and timelines. Let me get one thing straight though: Except for a few key animations, Higurashi is painfully ugly to look at. And I don’t mean the style, but the overall drawings and animations. I’m aware that this was the very first series that the studio produced, but for a 2006 show, I find it to be an eyesore. I mention this because it more often than not ruined the immersion for me. That being out of the way, let’s look at the show itself.
First of all, I really liked the tension that was present in the series the entire time. Even while the characters were joking and having fun, there was this constant feeling of something being wrong, and that you shouldn’t trust anyone. A feeling that often turns out to be true, no matter which story is being told, and who seems to be the killer. I also really liked the Shion arc, because it shed a lot of light on previous stories and character scenes, and made the most sense to me. Actually, I would have loved for the series to end right then and there, because what I didn’t enjoy at all, were the last 3 episodes.
Maybe it’s just me, but the last arc felt forced and not really in tune with the rest. I know that I should most probably watch season 2, because that will most definitely solve some issues, seeing as this season ended on a cliffhanger. But I just felt so complete after watching the Shion arc that I don’t want to watch any more of this series. To me, it’s over. I’m full, and don’t want to spend any more time on this series.
Does it mean that I found the ending of this season to be bad? No, because this ending was the beginning to something else. Something that I don’t feel inclined to watch, but would recommend anyone who watches season 1 and wants more, to actually do.
If I have to point out something that I really disliked about this show, except its looks, then it’s the constant zooming in on characters. It just pulled me right out of the moment every damn time, and was such a turnoff. I also didn’t like that the main cast are all kids, because this feels like a show that could have worked a lot better with young adults, or even fully grown up adults. Why? Because parents don’t seem to be that big of a deal for them, except in two of the stories, and they only act like kids when in school. Other characters also act towards them as if they were older than they actually are. As if they’re just kids to make the brutal scenes more shocking. Not having them be in school could have added more time to tell the story instead, but that’s just my opinion.
So, would I recommend Higurashi to anime fans who seek a good horror story? Both yes and no. The tension was surely a big plus for the series, but I feel full and not wanting to watch more of it. I’d say give it a go, and if you like the first arc, do go on and form your own opinion about it.